Desire for the Good, True, and Beautiful

Bona Verba from the Headmaster

In our contemporary world, fueled by boundless desires and insatiable consumption, René Girard’s philosophical concept of mimetic desire presents a powerful framework for understanding our social fabric. Girard suggests that individuals often desire what they see others desiring. We look to others as models and seek to emulate their desires, believing that by acquiring what they desire, we can achieve the same sense of satisfaction or fulfillment. It prompts us to reflect on the power of influence in shaping our desires and the implications this has for our individual and collective well-being.

While mimetic desire too often leads to rivalry or envy in our society, what would happen if we redirected our mimetic desires toward what is genuinely good, true, and beautiful? This is precisely the proposition that classical education sets forth—an education that Cincinnati Classical Academy proudly embraces.

At CLASSICAL, we provide an environment where students explore the realms of goodness, beauty, and truth through science, mathematics, the humanities, and the fine arts. By immersing our students in these timeless subjects, we seek to cultivate a profound longing for the noble and the authentic.

Classical education invites students to engage in a dialogue with great thinkers of the past, examining their insights into human nature, ethics, and the pursuit of knowledge. By studying the works of Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and other enduring authors and thinkers, students develop a nuanced understanding of the human experience, honing their ability to discern what is genuinely good, true, and beautiful amidst the noise and distractions of modern life.

Through the study of science, students discover the beauty of the natural world, unlocking its mysteries and appreciating its intricate complexities. They are encouraged to seek truth through observation, experimentation, and critical thinking, fostering a scientific mindset that aligns with the pursuit of knowledge and the understanding of the world around them, a mindset that stands in stark contrast to today’s “follow the science” mantras.

In music and art, students engage with expressions of beauty that transcend language and touch the depths of the human soul. They learn to appreciate various artistic forms, discerning the skill, creativity, and emotional depth behind masterpieces. By participating in these creative endeavors themselves, they develop their own ability to express and embody beauty.

Literature and history offer windows into different cultures, times, and perspectives, allowing students to explore the richness of human experience and empathize with the struggles and triumphs of individuals throughout history. By delving into the thoughts and narratives of diverse voices, they cultivate an appreciation for the pursuit of truth in all its complexity.

Imagine a society where individuals are driven by a mimetic desire for what is truly good, true, and beautiful. In such a world, rather than competing for material possessions or superficial status, we would collaborate to promote human flourishing. Classical education invites us to imagine and actively work towards this transformative vision. At Cincinnati Classical Academy, we wholeheartedly embrace the challenge of fostering this desire within our students.

Torches Up!
Michael Rose

Michael Rose - Headmaster

Mr. Michael Rose

Meet the Headmaster

Mr. Rose has taught various courses at Brown University, Cincinnati Moeller, and The Summit Country Day School. As a part of his degree work in education, Mr. Rose’s research interests included the Great Books curriculum, the Paideia teaching method, and the “effects of emerging digital technology on student reading, writing, and researching.” Read More